These poems are taken from the book Poetry of the Taliban (Columbia/Hurst, $24.50). These poems come from the chapters "Before Sept 11th" and "Love". Over the next few days, HuffPost Books will be running poems from the book. To read more about the genre and its cultural context, click here.
Before Sept 11th 2001
Today I write history on my enemy's chest with my sword,
I draw yesterday's memories on today's chest once more.
Malalai wants a red spot by her lover's blood
So as to embarrass the rose in the heart of the garden,
Moscow still owes us our blood,
I write the terms of my debt on the chest of the arrogant.
They will ride the white horses in the red field,
Then we will install the white banner on the Kremlin's chest.
The day of red blood will become red with the Red's blood,
The knife that is stuck into the Chechen's chest today.
My enemy, go and read the history of heroism,
There is a page written about Macnaghten's chest.
The Pharaoh of the time sends arrows everywhere,
These arrows will finally strike Washington's chest.
If anyone looks with the evil eye towards my deserts
They will find fires on their gardens' chests.
I, Ibrahimkhil, am on the path of a chosen destiny,
It's no problem if I face difficulties on my way.
-- Abdul Matin Ibrahimkhil
Your love aside, what else is there?
It is like approaching the desert.
Like the dust on your footsteps.
Look! The crazy one lay down.
In your love up to the sky
Means rising up from the earth.
Those who burn with the fire of zeal
Are shackeld at this time.
Your cheeks in the spring,
Red like flowers.
Admonisher! Give us advice!
My head has burst.
With the heart, I behave correctly with everyone,
But they cheat me.
Your eyelashes never miss
When they are turned against someone.
Your looks have grabbed my heart,
Its heart's habits are like that of a thief.
December 23, 2007
The village seems strange; this is separation
as if my beloved has left it.
The grief of separation is so cruel that it is not scared
When the soul does nt leave the body it shakes.
Like a flower withering in the autumn,
Autumn has now come to my love.
I remain alone with my shaggy head of hear
Uncomprehending; my heart has been sad for a long
In a flash, it put a hole in my entire world;
Each affair is like an arrow.
Oh Faqir! Better be sad.
Who told you love is easy?
-- Shahzeb Faqir
December 23, 2007